Tuesday, April 11, 2023

"Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  4098
Date:  11/04/1989
Debut:  72
Peak:  7
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Petty's debut solo album Full Moon Fever had by this point peaked at #3 and was just on the verge of hitting the double platinum mark. It reached those points thanks in part to a pair of #1 Rock tracks that also make the Pop Top 30 including the #12 "I Won't Back Down." To keep things rolling along, this third single was issued out. It would become Petty's third consecutive #1 at Rock while becoming his first solo-billed single to make the Pop Top 10. It would also get to #17 AC. A fourth single, "A Face in the Crowd," would get to #5 Rock/#46 Pop while the follow up "Yer So Bad" would get to #5 Rock. All of that attention would help album sales and in March of '90 the LP would go triple platinum (5x platinum later in 2000). The LP would be nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year while this single would earn Petty a Grammy nod for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male. It was and remains Petty's biggest selling studio album with or without the Heartbreakers. The only LP in his catalog that would surpass everything else was the 1993 TP/Heartbreakers compilation Greatest Hits (#2) which would eventually sell over 12 million copies

ReduxReview:  It's crazy to think that when Petty first played the album for his label, they didn't like it and didn't hear any hits. Obviously, it makes you wonder what the hell they were thinking. I mean, this album opening track was just a fresh blast of warm California sun n' rock. Add to it Petty's wailing on the chorus and it was just magic. Then there was "I Won't Back Down." I mean...c'mon. Luckily, a new regime at the label heard potential in the LP and pushed it out. The album is a classic and this song iconic. It was certainly a top moment for Petty that became only his second (and final) Pop Top 10 hit following 1979's #10 "Don't Do Me Like That" with the Heartbreakers. Considering Petty's amazing catalog, that stat is pretty sad. He and the band should have had a string of Top 10s. Over at Rock, Petty, with and without the Heartbreakers, earned twenty-five Top 10 hits including ten #1s.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  While Petty would successfully continue his day job with the Heartbreakers, over the years he would issue out two solo-billed albums. In 1994 came Wildflowers, which would reach #5, go triple platinum and earn Petty a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male, via the single "You Don't Know How It Feels" (#1 Rock/#13 Pop). He wouldn't release another solo album until 2006 with Highway Companion (#4 Gold). Meanwhile, Petty and the band would continue on in 1991 with the #13 double platinum Into the Great Wide Open. Other albums would follow including 2014's Hypnotic Eye, which became the band's first album to hit #1. In 2002, Petty and the Heartbreakers would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Petty would die of an accidental overdose in 2017. It was believed that the pain he was in from various health conditions including a fractured hip led him to take too much pain medication.


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